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Let’s find a way out

This summer, amid general elections and the IPL, the absence of films from cinema halls and multiplexes seems like the longest lull for the cine-goers, rues Madhur Bhandarkar.

entertainment Updated: May 12, 2009 21:15 IST
Madhur Bhandarkar column
Madhur Bhandarkar column
Hindustan Times

The summer is heating up like never before in this country, with the general elections and the IPL adding to the soaring mercury. But the only dampener amid all these is the absence of films from cinema halls and multiplexes. This seems like the longest lull for the cine-goers who are deprived of their weekly dose of new releases.

The dull atmosphere of the multiplexes is a very depressing sight and this strike seems to be dragging on forever.

It has been almost two months now and if this strike continues any further, it would start translating into bigger economic losses for the film industry, as 38 major films await release in the coming months.

As it is, cinemas have been losing audience over the past few years as the demons of piracy loomed large. These factors now have become a matter of major concern for the film industry.

The multiplex culture in cinema viewing has been revolutionary compared to the conventional single theatre tradition we were used to. With the plush environment, comfortable seats and a wide variety of eatables, movie-viewing is not the same anymore.

But the hindsight is that the amenities come with a price tag attached. Watching a regular film has become an extravagance for a normal middle class family. Nowadays, it almost costs a family a cool Rs 1,000 for a trip to the multiplex.

Cinema has been a part of the Indian culture for a long time now. But when one has to pay through the nose, people would prefer seeing a film in the comfort of their home at throwaway price on the DVD.

It’s a truth that high ticket prices have kept many viewers away from theatres. It’s a myth that all industry workers are people who travel in luxury SUVs and fly first-class. The life blood of the industry are the people who toil in sweat and heat for 20 hours a day. For them, films are not fun, but their only source of dal roti.

So for the betterment of everyone, including the workers, audiences and the makers, I hope all parties reach an understanding whereby everyone can have their regular dose of cinema and the industry can survive.

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First Published: May 12, 2009 21:12 IST